Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton 2020

4. Analyzing science communication through the lens of communication science: Reviewing the empirical evidence

Mike S. Schäfer, Sabrina H. Kessler and Birte Fähnrich


From the 1960s onwards, communication scientists have analyzed science communication. This article provides an overview of the empirical evidence that this research has generated. First, it describes the structures of the research field based on available meta-analyses. Then, it describes what is known about the communicators of science (such as scientists, journalists, PR experts, NGOs, and others) and about the portrayals of science in news media as well as online and in social media, and examines what is known about the uses and effects of science communication. For each of these subfields, the questions in focus, typical theoretical approaches, main results, and gaps are identified and reflected upon. In addition, the article identifies research gaps and potential avenues for future research.

© 2019 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston